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on May 17, 2009
The picture quality on this DVD is dreadful-more like that of a VHS tape.
It obviously has not been restored and is not worth the money
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on January 14, 2011
I've been waiting years (and years!) for this classic movie to come out on DVD. It's one of my 50 or so favourite movies and have seen it several times on TV and on the video tape release. I would have been happy to have a dvd of that quality, but the picture quality of the blue-ray release of the movie blew me out of the water! The colours are so vivid and the picture is so clear you'd (almost) think it was a more recent release. Whether you've seen the movie many times or you thinking of buying to see it for the first time, don't hesitate to get this, the best version ever!
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on February 7, 2004
The African Queen has something for everybody. It is a war, romance, comedy, action/adventure, travel log movie of the highest caliber. Katherine Hepburn shines as the stalwart, English, spinster, Rose Sayer, who finds herself alone in Africa when her missionary brother dies as a result of an attack on their village by the Germans in 1914. Humphrey Bogart raises the bar with his performance as the drunkard, Canadian riverboat captain, Charles Alnaugh, who rescues her. Rose formulates a plan to aid the war effort and their rescue that has the two of them braving their way down river through rapids, past a German fort, to a lake where they will destroy the huge German ship that stands between them and their countrymen. Mr. Alnaugh humors her at first feigning support for her plan. When he can take no more, confrontation ensues. Her resolve far surpasses his better judgment and he takes them on a trip that he knows will surely end both of their lives. The story is a testament of what two extremes can endure when they meet in the middle and is a tale that will endure forever.
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on September 22, 2009
This DVD started out very promising. I had a very bad copy of an old VHS tape and couldn't wait to watch this version on DVD. It wasn't bad until the movie came to the important part where the characters were approaching the end of the river. There was a segment of movie that simply wasn't there. Bad copy, waste of money.
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THE AFRICAN QUEEN [1951] [Special Restoration Edition] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] The Mightiest Adventure Ever Filmed! A First Rate Adventure!

From the Golden Age of cinema The African Queen is a truly magnificent film adapted from a novel by C.S. Forester. Starring Humphrey Bogart in his OSCAR® winning portrayal of Charlie Allnut, the slovenly, gin-swilling captain of a tramp steamer called the African Queen, which ships supplies to small East African villages during World War I in August/September 1914. Katharine Hepburn plays Rose Sayer, the maiden-lady sister of a prim British missionary [Robert Morley].

When invading Germans kill the missionary and level the village, Allnut offers to take Rose back to civilisation. She can't tolerate his drinking or bad manners, he isn't crazy about her imperious, judgmental attitude. However it does not take long before their passionate dislike turns to love. Together the disparate duo works to ensure their survival on the treacherous waters and devise an ingenious way to destroy a German gunboat.

With masterful direction from John Huston, and cinematography by Jack Cardiff, ‘The African Queen’ may well be the perfect adventure film. Its roller-coaster storyline complemented by the chemistry between its stars.

FILM FACT: Awards and Honours: Academy Awards®: Won: Best Actor in a Leading Role for Humphrey Bogart. Nominated: Best Actress in a Leading Role for Katharine Hepburn. Nominated: Best Adapted Screenplay for James Agee and John Huston. Nominated: Best Director for John Huston. Much of the film was shot on location in Uganda and the Congo in Africa. About half of the film was shot in England. For instance, the scenes in which Bogart and Hepburn are seen in the water were all shot in studio tanks at Isleworth Studios, Middlesex. These scenes were considered too dangerous to shoot in Africa. All of the foreground plates for the process shots were also done in studio. The vessel used to portray the German gunboat Königin Luise in the film was the steam tug Buganda, owned and operated on Lake Victoria by East African Railways & Harbours.

Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley, Peter Bull, Theodore Bikel, Walter Gotell, Peter Swanwick, Richard Marner, Errol John (uncredited), Gerald Onn (uncredited) and John von Kotze (uncredited)

Director: John Huston

Producers: John Woolf (uncredited) and Sam Spiegel

Screenplay: James Agee, John Huston, John Collier (uncredited), Peter Viertel (uncredited) and C.S. Forester (novel)

Composer: Allan Gray

Cinematography: Jack Cardiff

Special Effects: Cliff Richardson

Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio: English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles: English SDH

Running Time: 105 minutes

Region: Region B/2

Number of discs: 1

Studio: ITV Studios Home Entertainment

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: 'The African Queen' has been consistently praised and admired by critics and audiences alike since its 1951 premiere, but for several years John Huston's stirring romantic adventure also carried the dubious distinction of being the only picture on the AFI's list of the 100 Greatest American Movies yet to see a digital release. That frustrating fact sent diehard cinephiles into periodic apoplectic fits, but Paramount, after much wrangling, at last secured and then painstakingly restored the film's original three-strip negative, which had been locked away in a British vault. According to the studio, all American prints had deteriorated to such a degree they were unsuitable for re-mastering. And now, after what seems like an eternity, this Holy Grail film hits the home video market not only in standard definition, but also in glorious 1080p Technicolor.

And let me tell you, the wait has been worth it. Classic film fans who don't rhapsodize over this superior effort, which breathes new life into this venerable drama, should head straight to the optometrist, because 'The African Queen' is a kingly specimen that will thrill even the most discriminating high-definition viewers.

Notable for its ambitious location shooting in the Belgian Congo, colourful production history, terrific chemistry between stars Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, and sweet, captivating story and based on the novel by C.S. Forester fame, 'The African Queen' scored big upon its initial release and hasn't lost any of its lustre since. Humphrey Bogart won his only Academy Awards® and beating the likes of Marlon Brando in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and Montgomery Clift in 'A Place in the Sun,' for his role as the gruff, grimy, gin-soaked Charlie Allnut, skipper of the “African Queen.” a rickety riverboat that delivers supplies to, among other places, a small, isolated mission run by the Reverend Samuel Sayer [Robert Morley] and his prim, virtuous sister, Rose Sayer [Katharine Hepburn]. Unaware of a major conflict known as World War I, Samuel and Rose are shocked to hear from Charlie Allnut about an imminent German invasion, and when Kaiser Wilhelm's soldiers overrun the mission almost on cue, the siblings watch in horror as troops ransack and burn their settlement. The trauma and devastation send Samuel Sayer to an early grave, leaving Rose Sayer to fend for herself in the wilds of The Dark Continent.

When Charlie Allnut stops by to assess damage and offer help, he never dreams the dogged Rose Sayer will shanghai him and his boat, taking them on a dangerous journey down river that will continually test their courage and tenacity, all in the hope of finding and destroying the German gunboat that harbours the regional command. Along the way, the dilapidated “African Queen” must traverse treacherous rapids, cut through dense brush, and survive rough storms, while its two oil-and-water shipmates spar, bicker, and ultimately become smitten. Charlie Allnut and Rose Sayer's romance is as unlikely and unexpected as it is endearing and cute, and the middle-aged couple often acts like two starry-eyed teens basking in the unsullied bloom of young love. Their strong emotions, however, never weaken their resolve to confront and cripple the wily Germans, but executing their preposterous plan will take every ounce of energy and blind faith they can muster.

The long-standing appeal of 'The African Queen' may be due in part to its against-all-odds attitude and core values of guts and perseverance, but more likely stems from the irresistible appeal of its improbable hero and heroine. The notion that a blasphemous drunk and pious spinster could fall in love, let alone have the audacity to believe they can take down a well-oiled military machine, is both ludicrous and delightful, and Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn play their roles to the hilt. Never for a moment does their affection seem anything less than genuine, and with a mastery of their craft that few others in the industry possess, the two legendary actors infuse their eccentric, charismatic characters with palpable warmth and spirit.

No stranger to big, outdoorsy tales of indomitable will and chutzpah, John Huston who teamed with Humphrey Bogart on the equally rugged and immortal 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre' just three years before, deftly blends rousing physical sequences with scenes of exquisite tenderness and charm. The director's keen sense of rhythm keeps the story flowing like the river itself, ramping up tension at some points, gently drifting along in others, to create a comfortable mood punctuated by stunning landscape and wildlife shots. The marvellous script, which he co-wrote with James Agee and contains several memorable exchanges, and despite the fact that most of the film is a two-person dialogue, the characters are so richly drawn and brought so vividly to life by the actors, we never tire of them.

Amazingly, 'The African Queen' was not nominated for Best Picture, but both John Huston and Katherine Hepburn did receive nods for Best Director and Actress, respectively. John Huston was beaten by George Stevens for 'A Place in the Sun,' while Hepburn lost to Vivien Leigh's Blanche DuBois. Yet the lack of awards recognition can't diminish the film's lasting impact or the reverence it engenders. Charlie and Rose, as sweaty and dishevelled as they often appear, and as quirky and stubborn as they often act, are one of the films' immortal couples, ranking right up there with Scarlett and Rhett. Their passion may be muted and their age advanced, but they're still quite a pair. And 'The African Queen' is still quite an awesome adventurous film.

The film’s restoration in 2010: ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment has partnered with Paramount Pictures to save this great classic and restore it back to its former glory. The Original 35mm three strip camera negatives were scanned at high resolution and digitally recombined using restoration tools to repair tears and scratches, remove dirt and stabilise the picture. The soundtrack underwent full digital audio restoration removing clicks, hum, and other audio defects before creating a new Optical soundtrack negative. The Digital files have been output to a high resolution digital cinema File as well as creating a pristine new combined 35mm negative and an HD master. This is a fine example of how today’s technologies can protect and preserve classic films both digitally and photo-chemically for the next 100 years and beyond.

Blu-ray Video Quality – Film buffs have waited far too long for a digital transfer of 'The African Queen,' so expectations understandably ran high when Paramount announced its 4k restoration of the 1951 film. Working from the original three-strip negative, technicians scanned and digitized each element, then recombined and carefully aligned them before removing any dirt, nicks, and scratches. The process was long and arduous, but any doubts 'The African Queen' might arrive on Blu-ray looking less than its best vanish immediately upon one's first view of this stunningly beautiful rendering. Breath-taking clarity and sharpness, lush colour, and plenty of high-definition pop all belie the picture's advanced age and make this antiquated classic almost seem like a new release. Details, even in the background, remain well defined, and the driving rain possesses such marvellous clarity, it often looks like little needles falling from the heavens. Close-ups, especially those of Bogart, are sublime, highlighting every nook and cranny in his weathered face, and though Hepburn is photographed in soft focus, her classic features (oh, those cheekbones!) still come across well. Omnipresent beads of sweat are also visible, and the thick brush the pair must hack through is marvellously distinct. The African countryside and wildlife, especially a herd of crocodiles, nearly jump off the screen, often producing a sort of you-are-there effect that thrusts us into the action. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment has partnered with Paramount Pictures and hasn't tried to improve the audio on 'The African Queen,' because it is just fine by me. The original mono track gets the job done, producing full-bodied sound with plenty of tonal depth and presence. Though a bit of hiss still remains, the clean-up has been thorough, erasing any age-related pops, crackles, and static. Dynamic range is quite good, with high ends resisting distortion and low ends possessing good weight, and the action-oriented scenes fill the room well, even without multi-channel activity. And just because the track is front-based doesn't mean we don't pick up all the ambience of the African setting. On the contrary, the animal noises, buzzing of bugs, and rustling of foliage all come across quite well. It's not exactly immersive audio, but it represents the locale well. Best of all, dialogue is always clear and easy to comprehend, and Allan Gray's music score benefits from solid fidelity. For an almost 60-year-old soundtrack, 'The African Queen' sounds mighty spry.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Audio Commentary: Commentary with the late Jack Cardiff: Jack Cardiff discusses in great detail how specific sequences from The African Queen were shot, the various technical obstacles the tech crew had to overcome in the Belgian Congo, the diseases the actors struggled with during the shooting, some of the similarities and differences between C.S. Forester's novel and the film, etc. This is a truly amazing and fascinating audio commentary.

Special Feature: Embracing Chaos: Making The African Queen [2010] [60:00] An outstanding in-depth look at the production history of The African Queen, with various comments by Martin Scorsese, Jack Cardiff, film historian Rudy Behlmer, writer/director Nicholas Meyer, Humphrey Bogart Biographer Eric Lax, assistant director Guy Hamilton, and actor/director/producer Norman Lloyd, among others. With optional English SDH subtitles.

Special Feature: Star Profiles [biographies in text format]
1. Humphrey Bogart
2. Katharine Hepburn
3. John Huston
4. Jack Cardiff

Special Feature: Picture Galleries
1. Poster and Lobby Cards [1:00]
2. Behind the Scenes [4:00]

Theatrical Trailer [1951] [3:00] Original Theatrical Trailer for The African Queen.

Finally, The UK Blu-ray release of John Huston's ‘The African Queen’ has two key advantages over the U.S.A Region A/1 release, as it comes with a very good audio track and a very strong audio commentary by the late Jack Cardiff. If you do not yet have this classic film in your Blu-ray library collection, but keen to get this particular copy, then please remember as this is a Region B/2 Blu-ray disc. Ever since I had this on an NTSC LaserDisc, it has always been a massive favourite of mine, but now I have it in the ultimate Blu-ray format; I am now a very happy bunny and it will give me endless hours of enjoyment and an honour to have it in my extensive Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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on November 10, 2003
This terrific film stars Katherine Hepuburn as a prim missionary's sister, stranded in the wilds of Africa when her brother dies, and the Germans are coming. She persuades riverboat man Charlie Allnut (Humphry Bogart) that they should make a torpedo to blow up a German warship, and they travel down the river together in his tatty little boat the African Queen. Their personalities clash painfully at first, but gradually they come to appreciate each other. Katherine Hepburn has the two best lines in the film, after she's travelled down the rapids, Bogart expects her to be terrfied, but she says "I never dreamed any mere physical experience could be so exhilirating!". Then, when Bogart has insulted her and she's poured all his gin away in revenge, he protests that getting drunk now and again is only human nature, "Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above!" A great film. Just to clear up a point that seems to have confused some previous reviewers, this film is set during World War ONE, not Two...
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on December 14, 2009
I was so excited to see this movie available. I love this movie and I couldn't wait to get it. However, I didn't realize when I purchased this movie that it was in Mandarin. YIKES Really not good quality DVD either. Now I will have to wait for the rerelease from the movie studios and repurchase it then.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon July 25, 2010
Based on a novel by C.S. Forester, adapted for the screen by Director / Writer John Huston. September 1914, in Africa during WW1, everyone is escaping the Huns. An unlikely pair, drunkard Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart) and the reverend's (Robert Morley) spinster sister, Rose Sayer (Katharine Hepburn) escaping down the river form a relationship that may prove fatal to the Germans pride gunboat "The Louisa" with a 6 pounder. And then again, we have to get past rapids, leaches, and a German Fort.

Usually Blu-ray only enhances the visual but cannot enhance the story or dialog. However, with this presentation the DVD extra actually enhances the movie. Watch the film again after watching the extras. I did not realize that the film was shot in Technicolor. The sound (probably due to a better T.V. seems to have improved also.
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on February 3, 2004
The African Queen 1952
Starring Humphrey Bogart as Charlie Allnut and Katharine Hepburn as Rose Sayer. Directed by John Huston.
The one thing I remembered most about The African Queen was the mosquitoes and leeches, used very effectively to intensify the struggles of Charlie (Bogart) and Rose (Hepburn) as they set out on an impossible mission. Charlie is the mailman, traveling by use of an old steamboat tub called The African Queen. He happens to be on hand when Rose loses her bother when he dies after their African missionary is burnt down by the Germans, at the beginning of World War I. Rose decides that they need to sink the German gunboat patrolling the waters, using a crude bomb mounted on the African Queen to ram the gunship. The rest of the action and plot develope around their relationship and struggle to sink the gunboat. Charlie likes his gin and Rose, being a missionary, doesn't tolerate Charlie's lack of social skills.
I believe that the character development, with both Charlie and Rose ending up not exactly fitting into the stereotypes they start out with, is an important part of the movie. The movie had realism, although some scenes could have been produced better.
Humphrey Bogart won his only Oscar for this film, although I believe he had better roles and did better work. Katharine Hepburn does a great job as the "crazy, psalm-singing, skinny old maid!" I enjoyed this classic and recommend it highly.
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Directed by John Huston, this film attracted increased attention following the death of Katherine Hepburn and I fervently hope that it will soon be available in the DVD format. Of course, she is superb as Rose Sayer and her performance may well be her most fulfilled as she (Rose) evolves from a priggish spinster who initially views Charlie Alnutt (Bogart) as something to be scraped from his boat but over time develops grudging respect, admiration, and then even love for him. For whatever reasons, the film was nominated for only five Academy Awards and received just one (Bogart for best actor) but during the 52 years since its release, it has achieved well-deserved stature as a "classic."
Back to Katherine Hepburn for a moment. According to her own account, she was unsure how to portray Rose. Huston suggested that she play the role as if she were Eleanor Roosevelt. Throughout much of the film, she faithfully follows that suggestion. In one of the film's most glorious moments, she falls totally in love with the scruffy and sometimes irascible but undeniably courageous Charlie. Of course, by that point in the narrative, he feels the same way about "Rosie." All of her inhibitions and defense mechanisms are overcome by this kind and brave little man with whom she soon faces almost certain death.
It is worth noting that Huston enlisted James Agee to help him with the screenplay, based on C.S. Forester's novel. It is also worth noting that the production lasted much longer than expected and the working conditions in Africa were often intolerable. Those who are curious to know about all this are urged to read Hepburn's own account in The Making of the African Queen: Or How I Went to Africa With Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind. It is also worth noting that Robert Morley has a small but pivotal role as Rose's brother, the Reverend Samuel Thayer. His death so early in the film achieves several objectives, notably enabling Rose to depart with Charlie because, had Thayer lived, he would have emphatically refused to leave his mission and she would have insisted on remaining with him. Also, I think, Huston wished to introduce elements of menace and danger as early in the film as appropriate. As a result, he suggests that are many other life-threatening perils through which the small boat and its two passengers must navigate their way.
For these and other reasons, I hold The African Queen in highest regard as I impatiently await the film's availability in the DVD format. Presumably the supplementary materials will be of a quality comparable with those now provided with the DVD version of other great films such as It's a Wonderful Life and Singin' in the Rain. I can almost hear Katherine Hepburn adding, "They better be!"
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